A look at the playoff race
Well, Saturday night's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats wasn't the most positive outcome of the weekend, but given some of the games we've seen this season out of the Grizzlies, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. What it didn't do, however, was move the Grizzlies any closer to making the playoffs.
As of this morning, here's what those standings look like:
The Grizzlies are still in 9th place, two games back of the Phoenix Suns. Dallas is back in 7th and Golden State, who were down to 8th last week, have moved back up to the 6th seed (even though there are those who, as recently as last week, said they think Golden State is likely to be the team that drops out of the playoffs altogether).
Things are still tight, in other words.
At this point—given the way that the Grizzlies are playing, and the huge pile of mishaps and brainfarts that have led us all to this point as watchers of this team—I wouldn't be shocked if they end up as the six seed, and I wouldn't be shocked if they end up missing the playoffs entirely by half a game. Things are so close in the West this year that the 20-point loss to the Raptors at home in November could be enough to keep the Griz out of the postseason. Or any one of the losses to the Pelicans. Or... the list goes on.
The Grizzlies have had such an up and down season so far that you'd hate to see them miss out on the playoffs because even though they played well, none of the teams ahead of them in the standings fell off enough for the Griz to catch them. But that might be exactly what happens.
...or they might end up being the sixth seed. We'll see.
Zach Randolph Community Assistance Fund
The Zach Randolph Community Assistance Fund donated $20,000 to MLGW's Plus-1 program, which in turn will pay for the utility bills of 100 families in need.
Randolph set up the fund with MIFA. The Griz press release about yesterday's donation explains what the Z.R.C.A.F. (I love a good acronym) is all about:
The partnership between Randolph and MIFA is founded in shared goals: Randolph is committed to making a deep and meaningful impact in the lives of families in need, and MIFA has the infrastructure, the reach and the reputation to help Randolph maximize his community contributions. Amounts distributed out of the Zach Randolph Fund will go to non-profits, schools and community centers chosen by Randolph himself.
To me, this is great—not only is it a good way for Randolph to continue to do really good things for the community, but it's also a great way for him to utilize infrastructure that's already in place to make sure what he's doing is helping as many people as it possibly can.
The "turnaround" of Zach Randolph has been such a huge narrative since he got here and started playing well and, for the most part, staying out of trouble. I'm not going to rhapsodize about the guy, because I think every person has facets, some of which can be blocked from view by others. But it's undeniable that Randolph has used his money and his name to do good things for the city of Memphis, and that he has now set up the Z.R.C.A.F. (which sounds like it should be some sort of rebel army or Zimbabwean professional sports league) in order to be able to give back to the community in the most efficient manner possible—which can only be a good thing.
Free agents on the market: Grainger, Udrih
Now that the trade deadline has passed and teams have started to buy out and/or waive the players they couldn't
unload on some idiot GM trade away on deadline day, some interesting names have come up on the market with possible Griz implications:
• Danny Granger — potentially an immediate wing piece to throw into the rotation, presumably in the place of Tayshaun Prince or maybe to soak up some of Mike Miller's minutes. Granger is a shell of his former self this season, but he's still good enough to be a contributor on a contender. That said, I don't think the Grizzlies will sign him. I think they're too worried about settling into a rotation with the players they've got to be adding any more pieces to the mix. As much as I think Granger could contribute, I don't think acquiring him is worth turning the wing rotation into even more of a logjam than it already is.
• Beno Udrih — Much more interesting from a Griz perspective is Beno Udrih, waived by the Knicks (who immediately then saw Raymond Felton arrested on felony gun charges, so... maybe they want him back). Udrih, for the right price, becomes a great acquisition to be the third point guard on this team. Pressure on Calathes to keep playing well, and also solid insurance in case Conley or Calathes has to miss a game or two down the stretch. Assuming he's available for the vet minumum, I think picking up Udrih off the scrap heap would be a wise move for the Griz that wouldn't cost them much. The counter argument is that they've done pretty well bringing in D-League players and other younger prospects, so maybe Udrih would be taking up a roster spot that could go to a Darius Morris type. I understand that line of reasoning, but still think Udrih would be a good pick up given the circumstances.
• Gilbert Arenas — Is probably on a couch somewhere. And that's okay.